Townships, Termite Mounds and Cheetah Poo
Trip Start Sep 10, 2008
75Trip End Sep 03, 2009
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Where I stayed
Chameleon backpackers itself is fantastic, very warm, clean and relaxed with a pool, kitchen and all the other mod-cons that you wouldn't always expect a hostel to provide. Not bad for under 6 pounds a night B&B. The pools somehow manages to stay too cold to actually swim in however, despite the outside temperature hitting the 30's.
The city has a very relaxed pace of life, once you get used to the crazy roads...just because there is a little green man, does not mean it is safe to cross
A couple of days after my arrival, I joined my over-landing trip. We ended up heading to a township called Katatura, (translating as "Place we don't want to live" as the people were forced to move there during South African rule and apartheid). We went for a quick look round the market whilst waiting for the arrival of the rest of our group from the airport. The visit was slightly uncomfortable, but very interesting and pretty much involved getting a minibus load of white tourists dressed in safari gear to walk round a market to "see how these people live". As far as townships go, this one was actually quite wealthy, as everyone lived in concrete (government built) houses, and they had a very organised market area, which had shops as well as stalls.
The market was buzzing with life, being a Saturday morning it seemed that all the locals come down to socalise and eat the meat on offer which I have to say, looked less than appealing
Behind the meat sellers were women selling a variety of things, in particular a lot were selling all sorts of dried foods, including biltong (dried meat) and even caterpillars whilst sitting on broken patio chairs balanced on old oil drums. Although I've had my fair share of biltong, I'm wasn't going to stretch to the caterpillars.
Other points of interest were the shoe shops, many of whom repaired or made shows with old car tyres for soles and leather. The prize for the most bizarre item however, has to go to the pairs of goat hair flip flops. The long goat hair was dyed a lurid green colour, that I imagine would tickle your toes as you walk along. On our exit of the market, we had to be careful not to knock into the random buckets of offal and trotters that were dotted about the narrow walkways.
After a few hours drive through a the featureless (and yes, pretty boring!) landscape we arrived at the africat foundation and put our huge army style tents up (they remain the only type of tent I have seen in the whole of Namibia)
We watched a beautiful leopard from a hide which had been orphaned, and then raised by the owner in his bedroom. Eventually the leopard became territorial and tried to kill the owner, at which point he decided it would probably be best to move the cat into a large outdoor enclosure.
After a visit to the wild dogs, a fierce and endangered species we headed towards the cheetah enclosure. We watched the cheetahs for a while before moving on, however, on our way out we spotted 3 more cheetahs. One of the cheetah's jumped onto a termite mound, to which the guide said "Thats odd, unless..." and sure enough, the cat choose that moment to empty his bowels right in front of us. It stank a lot. Apparently it was an IAMS day, its official, IAMS is bad for your cheetah. Despite the smell, and for reasons unknown to me we watched them for a little longer before heading back for dinner.